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Easy Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

This is the Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe you will ever try! Made with Caribbean spices, it’s a great dinner or lunch recipe!

Being the first American born in a Jamaican family means that we eat a LOT of Jamaican food all the time. One of the biggest staple recipes of Jamaica is the infamous Jerk chicken!

If you have ever visited Jamaica (or even a couple of corners in Brooklyn), you will see plenty of Jerk Chicken smoker spots on the sides of the road being smoked to perfection. Since my family is from Jamaica I am especially excited to share this recipe with you today! (I honestly feel as if knowing how to properly ‘Jerk’ a protein is mandatory for any Jamaican chef lol)

Featuring a blend of aromatic spices, a touch of heat, and smoky undertones, this dish brings Jamaica’s world-famous flavors right into your kitchen.

This jerk chicken is marinated to perfection, ensuring each bite is super flavorful. From its fragrant jerk seasoning to its amazing marinade, this recipe is as close to island cooking as you can get without leaving your home.

What ingredients are needed for the best Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe?

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thighs In A Bowl

  • whole chicken cut in 10 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
  • Jerk Seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • jerk marinade or jerk sauce

You can also buy Jerk Seasoning in the grocery store just make sure you know which type of heat style you like, mild, medium or hot. It can get very hot so be careful!

How do you make Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Step One: Trim chicken of excess fat and pat dry with a cloth or paper napkin.

Step Two: Rub the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper, jerk seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Set aside while you make the marinade (if applicable).

Step Three: Soak the chicken in the jerk marinade

Step Four: Drench the chicken with jerk marinade, place in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Try not to touch the jerk blend with your hands because it is can get hot. If possible, use gloves. Avoid touching face.

Step Five: When ready to bake, remove chicken from the jerk marinade and bake in oven at 425 degrees F. Reserve the remaining marinade.

Step Six: Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, until juices run clear with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, turning often to optimize cooking and browning.

Step Seven: In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining marinade for about 7 minutes. Serve with the chicken or put some on top before serving with rice and peas.

Today I am excited to share some of my culture with you and your family!

What is Jamaican Jerk Chicken?

Jerk chicken is a traditional Jamaican dish that is typically made by marinating chicken in a mixture of spices, including allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers. The chicken is then grilled or roasted over a fire, giving it a smoky flavor.

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe with thyme on a white plate

Authentic Jerk Chicken Recipe Variations

  1. Mango Salsa: Serve with a side of mango salsa for a tropical twist.
  2. Lemon Jerk: Add lemon juice to the marinade for a citrusy kick.
  3. Thyme Infused: Incorporate fresh thyme into the marinade for an herbal touch.

What are some helpful tips for making authentic Jamaican Jerk chicken?

1. Use scotch bonnet peppers for a signature spicy flavor. The heat of the pepper can be adjusted according to taste.

2. Take care not to overcook the chicken, as it can dry out in the oven.

3. Serve with coconut rice and peas, plantains and cabbage for a complete meal.

4. To add an extra layer of flavor, brush the cooked chicken with a glaze made from the marinade, brown sugar and butter. This will give the chicken a delicious caramelized coating.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and spices to make each batch of Jamaican Jerk chicken unique. Consider adding herbs such as cilantro or parsley for added flavor or try using other types of poultry. Have fun with it!

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Can you freeze jerk chicken for later?

Yes, you can definitely freeze jerk chicken for later. After the chicken is cooked and cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in an oven or microwave until heated through.

Common Problems and How to Avoid Them

  1. Dry Chicken: Overcooking is the enemy. Make sure to check the chicken’s internal temperature, which should reach 165°F.
  2. Too Spicy: If you find the chicken too spicy, reduce the amount of jerk seasoning or scotch bonnet peppers in the marinade.
  3. Uneven Flavor: Ensure that the chicken is thoroughly coated with the marinade for consistent flavor throughout.

What are some other great Jamaican recipes to try?

What are some different ways to prepare jerk chicken?

Jerk chicken can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be grilled, roasted, or even steamed. You can also prepare jerk chicken using different types of poultry, such as turkey or duck. Additionally, you can bake your jerk chicken in the oven for a finished product that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

No matter which method you choose, make sure to marinate the chicken for at least an hour in a blend of jerk seasoning and oil to ensure maximum flavor! Enjoy experimenting with different ways to prepare your delicious Jamaican jerk chicken.

Topping Options

  1. Jerk Sauce: Drizzle some extra jerk sauce for added flavor and moisture.
  2. Lime Wedges: A squeeze of lime adds a fresh, zesty note.
  3. Fresh Herbs: Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley for color and flavor.

Why This Recipe Works

Authentic Flavors: The jerk seasoning and marinade are true to Jamaican culinary traditions, offering a genuine Caribbean experience.

Versatility: This recipe works well with different cuts of chicken and cooking methods.

Family-Friendly: With adjustable spice levels, this dish can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Balance of Flavors: The combination of heat from the spices, sweetness from the marinade, and smokiness from the cooking method creates a well-rounded flavor profile.

What if I don’t have any scotch bonnet pepper?

If you do not have any scotch bonnet pepper, you can substitute with another type of hot pepper such as habanero or jalapeno.

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken on white plate with scotch bonnet pepper and thyme

You may also want to adjust the amount of heat used in your jerk seasoning blend accordingly. Alternatively, if you prefer a milder flavor, you can use bell peppers instead.

What do you serve Jamaican Jerk Chicken with?

There are many different ways to enjoy Jamaican Jerk chicken. It is often served with authentic Jamaican rice and peas, as well as a variety of vegetables. Jerk chicken can also be served on its own as an entrée or added to sandwiches, wraps, and salads. It is especially great to serve with this creamy Rasta Pasta.

Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken On White Plate With Thyme

My family absolutely loves this recipe and I hope you will too!

The Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe
Yield: 6 servings

The Best Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

This authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe is so good and easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut in 10 pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
  • 1 tablespoon Jerk Seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 cup Jerk Marinade

Instructions

  1. Trim chicken of excess fat and pat dry with a cloth or paper napkin.
  2. Rub with salt and freshly ground pepper, jerk seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Set aside while you make the marinade (if applicable).
  3. Soak the chicken in the jerk marinade
  4. Drench the chicken with jerk marinade, place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Try not to touch the jerk blend with your hands because it is can get hot. If possible, use gloves. Avoid touching face.
  5. When ready to bake, remove chicken from the jerk marinade and bake in oven at 425 degrees F. Reserve the remaining marinade.
  6. Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, until juices run clear with an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, turning often to optimize cooking and browning.
  7. In a small saucepan, simmer the remaining marinade and the one from the chicken for about 7 minutes. Serve with the chicken or put some on top before serving with rice and peas.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 344Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 88mgSodium 994mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 0gSugar 3gProtein 29g

Did you make this recipe?

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Ledunkley

Monday 5th of September 2022

Can’t be authentic if you are using jerk powder and pre made marinade. To make your own seasoning is not that hard.

Nellie

Monday 5th of September 2022

I included a recipe for homemade jerk marinade

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